The love story that I always heard throughout my childhood was that of Radha-Krishna.
Krishna is an incarnation of the Sustainer God Vishnu upon this earth, and Radha was his love when he was here. It is said when he played his flute, she would drop everything and run to him. Her love symbolizes, to us, how pure and simple the love between God and human can be. It doesn’t have to be a distant, uncaring love. God is like a real person in our mythology, playful, bantering, serious, and loving all at once. Even now as an atheist I find the story utterly charming.
The story of Radha-Krishna takes place 5000 years ago, according to our Vedas. Only a few hundred years ago there was the famous poet MiraBai.
She gave up everything in her life for the love of Krishna, and to this day she is spoken of in awe and wonder. She sang and danced for Krishna in public temples and refused to worship Durga, the family goddess. Legend has it she was even given a bowl of poison to drink by her frustrated family, and she said Krishna’s name and drank it, and the poison became clear as water and she was not killed.
In honor of them, this lovely song, with translations:
Ek Raadhaa, Ek Meera Donon Ne Shyaam Ko Chaaha
Antar Kya Donon Ki Chaah Mein Bolo
Ik Prem Deewaani, Ik Darad Deewaani
Ek Raadhaa, Ek Meera …
One was Radha, one was Meera, both loved Shyam*
The ending to both of their stories…?
One was crazy for love, the other crazy from pain
Raadha Ne Madhuban Mein Dhoondha
Meera Ne Man Mein Paaya
Raadha Jise Kho Baithi
Vo Govind Aur Daras Dikhaaya
Ek Murali Ek Paayal, Ek Pagali, Ek Ghaayal
Antar Kya Donon Ki Preet Mein Bolo
Ek Surat Lubhaanee, Ek Murat Lubhaani
Ik Prem Deewaani, Ik Darad Deewaani …
Radha searched for him in the gardens
While Meera found him in her heart
The one that Radha lost in life
That Govind* showed his kindness
One with the flute, one with the anklets, one crazy, one wounded
What’s the difference between the two?
One saw his face, the other only a statue,
Meera Ke Prabhu Giridhar Naagar
Raadha Ke Manamohan
Raadha Din Shringaar Kare
Aur Meera Ban Gayi Jogan
Ek Raani Ek Daasee, Donon Hari Prem Ki Pyaasi
Antar Kya Donon Ki Tripti Mein Bolo
Ek Jeet Na Maanee, Ek Haar Na Maani
Ik Prem Deewaani, Ik Daras Deewaani
Meera called her love Giridhar Nagar*
Radha called hers Manmohan*
Radha would dress beautifully
and Meera become ascetic
One was a queen, one his slave, both thirsty for his love,
What was the difference between the two?
One never claimed victory, the other never claimed defeat
*All the many names of Krishna.